Maria, one of my private clients who’s a-35-year-old nurse living in New Jersey, sent me a screenshot of a text. It was from a guy she met online and they’ve met for drinks once. She thought he was kind of cute and she wouldn’t mind going on another date with him. But he sent her confusing signals by texting her but not making any specific plans.

His text said, “Hey! How r u doing?” The last time they exchanged messages was over three weeks earlier. He said that he was super busy with work and would get back to her later. She responded with “Sounds good” and a happy emoji face.

If you are getting random texts from a guy every few weeks or even months along the lines of “How’s it going?” and wonder what it’s all about, I’ll give you the answer.

What’s happening is that he’s benching you.

Using a sports metaphor, benching means he keeps you on the roster but not in play.

Why would a guy do that? Several reasons.

He might be not sure if he wants to go out with you again. And if he doesn’t have to decide, he won’t. He might be dating someone else but wants to keep his options open. He might just want strike his ego knowing a quick text will get you (and likely, a bunch of other women) respond to him.

But it isn’t just about a guy.

The reason he’s benching is because HE CAN. Yes, he can, but only if you allow it (as always, you have the power, not a guy!)

You may easily forget that he didn’t follow up with you when he said he would. You may quickly and enthusiastically respond to his messages. You may let him get away with plans for a date that never happens or gets canceled at the last minute.

What makes benching tricky is it’s easy to start projecting what you want to see in a guy. Some how the fact that he didn’t bother to check in on your in weeks is overshadowed by the fact that he reached out and an illusion that he’s interested in you.

Don’t fool yourself into this trap.

If he was REALLY interested in you, he’d follow up after your first date and ask you out already. Or, if he was really busy but wanted to see you, his text would have more substance along the lines of, “Sorry I disappeared. Crazy at work” and “Are you free this Friday night?”

So back to the question Maria asked me, “What should I do?” It comes down to three options.

1. You text him back something along the lines of “Fine. How’re you?” Bam. He got exactly what he wanted. You’re likely to continue be stuck in the texting limbo.

2. You ignore his text and see what happens. If doesn’t care, he won’t do anything about it. If he does, he might actually make some effort like ask you out. It’s easy to do when you have a lot going on in your love life.

3. You play with him. You share something awesome about your life and you respond when it’s convent for you, like a week later with a hot pic of you having fun (if you just came back from a trip or did something cool, send it) and a short text like, “Living my life.” You’re naturally going to make him wonder and even feel like he’s missing out. If he asks you questions about your photo/trip/whatever, you simply text him, “I’ll tell you
when you ask me on a proper date.”

Want to know what I would do if I were single? Play with him because you’re being open, enjoying your great life and aren’t going to engage into a superficial texting back and forth. If he wants to be a part of your life—even on the basic conversation level—he has to stop benching and start putting some effort like taking you out on a real date.

Let me know about your experience of being benched, how you deal with benching and what you learned from this article by clicking REPLY to this email.

Now, here is some exciting news! I’m putting together a free training webinar on texting and texts men can’t resist. If you’d like to get your biggest questions about texting answered, simply click on this link and let me know what you want me to cover that would be most valuable for you.

Look forward to hearing from you.